TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Kansas teacher is using his summer to start a new side hustle of selling fireworks.
Garret’s Fireworks stands at the corner of 31st Street and Topeka Boulevard and is owned by Derek Terry. He teaches debate, forensics, film and theatre at Santa Fe Trail High School. As if he wasn’t busy enough, he decided to operate a fireworks stand this summer.
“We even hired four of my high school students and they will be working with us so it’s like poor teacher and counselor and very poor students… just trying to make some money and have a little American pride,” Terry said.
Teaching high school kids isn’t much different than running a fireworks stand, according to Terry.
“There’s a lot of similarities, too, when it comes to setting things up and making sure things are organized and safe and everyone is following the rules and procedures,” Terry said. “It’s a lot of change, and the same, too.”
Safety is always a big concern. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says fireworks-related injuries are up 25% in the last 15 years. Since 2019, 54 people in the U.S. have died from these types of accidents. The City of Topeka doesn’t want to be a part of that statistic.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times when it comes to that time of the year, it’s kind of a reactive process in which we take because there are so many calls for individuals shooting off fireworks outside of the timeframes and dates,” said Bill Cochran, Topeka Interim City Manager.